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Preserves Hints and Tips

General guidance - Jars and bottles must be clear glass with NO commercial markings, clean, well polished and free of stickiness and finger marks. Label the jars with the contents and date (DD/MM/YY)The judge will taste the exhibit with marking given according to flavour / aroma being the biggest percentage of the overall marks.


Jams - Colour should be bright and characteristic. No scum or foreign bodies, mould or sugar crystals. Fruit evenly distributed, not too many stones. Skins tender. Consistency 'jellified' not runny or sticky, no loose liquid or syrup. Flavour full, fresh and characteristic of the fruit. Jars should be made of clear glass and free from all commercial/trade marks, whether on lid, jar or base. Labels should be plain, neat and straight and of suitable size for the container. Place label between the seams of the jar. Label should state contents and day, month and year of making. Fill jars to the neck.

Jellies - Should be brilliantly clear with no pulp, haze or scum and. Should be brilliantly clear. Colour should be even, bright and characteristic. Consistency should tremble, but hold its shape. No air bubbles. Flavour true of fruit, full and well balanced. Seal as for jams

Lemon curd - Colour should be bright and characteristic. Consistency spreadable, but not runny or rough. No egg spots, peel, scum, sugar crystals and air bubbles. Flavour fresh and well balanced, with no greasy taste.

Marmalade -  If peel is included in the preserve, it should be tender and uniformly cut. Colour will vary according to type, but bright and characteristic. Consistency 'jellified', not runny or too firm. No air bubbles or scum. Peel tender, uniformly cut and distributed. Traditionally peel should be sliced. Minced peel would lose marks, unless specified in schedule. Flavour slightly bitter, characteristic and true of fruit used. Seal with a wax disc and a lid/cover.

Vinegar Preserves

Jars - must be suitably covered to prevent corrosion of the lid by the vinegar. Cover must be airtight. Chutneys and pickles should be 2-3 months old before exhibiting to allow the flavour to mature.

Chutney -  Colour, bright and even throughout. Dark chutney should be dark and bright, but not muddy. Consistency reasonably firm, and uniform. No large pieces of onion, skin, cores, or stones. No air bubbles or free vinegar. Mature flavour (improved by potting for two months). Flavours blended well, and characteristic of ingredients used.